Alternative Fuel Depot Boasts Many Firsts

The world’s first and most advanced fuel depot to offer a comprehensive array of alternative and traditional fuels to motorists has opened at the new Regional Transportation Center (RTC) in San Diego, according to Mike Lewis, general manager of the RTC. The RTC Fuel Depot is located at 4001 El Cajon Boulevard at the intersection of El Cajon Blvd. and the I-15.

San Diego, California, July 28, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Designed to efficiently accommodate the fueling requirements of both Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) and conventional automobiles, the RTC Fuel Depot offers motorists an unprecedented nine types of fuel, including six types to power AFVs. Alternative fuel depot “firsts” include the first public underground tanks in the U.S. for liquefied propane gas (LPG) and ethanol (E-85) for automobile fueling; the first biodiesel tank on the West Coast; the first tank in San Diego with fuel that is actually made from recycled French fry grease; San Diego’s first 3,600 pounds per square inch (psi) fueling station for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG); the largest electrical charging station in San Diego; and the first availability of ultra low-sulfur diesel. Three standard grades of gasoline are also available to fuel bi-fuel, flex-fuel and conventional automobiles. Lewis said the fuels are dispensed from futuristic, 8-feet-tall “Eclipse” pumps, which also make their San Diego debut at the RTC Fuel Depot. In addition, motorists get the “white glove” full service treatment at no charge from RTC service attendants dressed in 1950’s era uniforms and eager to assist with air, water and window cleaning services. “We are very excited that the RTC Fuel Depot has opened and is able to accommodate virtually any type of alternative or conventional vehicle in San Diego,” Lewis said. “The Fuel Depot represents the important first component of the RTC, which will be the world’s first comprehensive showcase of alternative fuels and the vehicles that use them.” The RTC is set to hold its official grand opening on August 8 in its US$15 million, 92,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed to educate people about the benefits of AFVs. The project has been under development since 1998 and construction began July of last year. Located on 1.65 acres, the RTC serves as a gateway project in the City Heights Redevelopment Area. The RTC’s signature structure will be the AFV Showroom, which is technologically designed for efficiency and comfort as an example of a modern, state-of-the-art automobile showroom that will showcase Ford Motor Company’s complete line of AFV’s. The showroom will be managed and operated by Pearson Ford, a family-owned Ford dealership, which has been serving San Diegans for more than 60 years. Complementing the showroom will be the AFV Rental/Demo Center, which will expose the general motoring public to the advantages of new fuel technologies by allowing them to drive and experience the new vehicles. The AFV Service Center will provide both AFV and conventional automobile owners with a convenient location for vehicle repairs. The Service Center will have multiple service bays equipped to service various types of AFVs, both from Ford and other manufacturers. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the RTC Fuel Depot accepts all major credit, debit, and Voyager cards, as well as cash, which is another first for alternative fuel stations. Funded in part by a US$1.4 million donation from Ford Motor Company, the RTC Education Center is designed to educate middle and high school students about innovative technologies that will improve the environment. The Center’s curriculum, developed in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education, will focus its lessons on alternative fuels and other energy efficient technologies. The RTC has received financial support from Pearson Ford, Ford Motor Company, U.S. Department of Energy, California Air Resources Board, City of San Diego via a HUD grant, Mutual Propane and Clean Energy. Lusardi Construction is the general contractor for the RTC and the GTB Company of El Cajon built the fuel station.

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